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Kathrin Wellach

PhD Student


Phone: +49 6221 42 3822

Orcid ID: 0000-0002-1800-2421


Scientific CV

Since Oct 2021
PhD student, Immunotherapy and Immunoprevention, DKFZ, Heidelberg

2017 - 2021
MSc Molecular Biotechnology, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg

2014 - 2017
BSc Molecular Biotechnology, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg

Research Project

Characterization of HPV epitopes for their suitability to be included into a therapeutic HPV vaccine

Persistent infections with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV) can cause anogenital as well as head and neck cancer. Most HPV infections are cleared by the immune system, but if immune recognition fails, infections can persist and lead to the development of cancerous lesions. For this, inducing targeted T cell responses against HPV-infected cells with a therapeutic vaccination could be a promising new treatment option. To successfully develop a therapeutic vaccine against HPV, immunogenic epitopes that mediate cytotoxic T cell responses need to be identified and validated.

In this project, previously identified candidate epitopes for the major HLA supertypes will be first functionally characterized in vitro. Then, for the most promising epitopes, the capacity to induce de novo immune responses will be analyzed in detail and a multi-epitope vaccine formulation will be tested in vaccination experiments using our syngeneic orthotopic tumor model in HLA-humanized mice.

Resulting Publications

Effects of hypoxia on antigen presentation and T cell-based immune recognition of HPV16-transformed cells.
Mohan N*, Wellach K*, Özerdem C, Veits N, Förster JD, Föhr S, Bonsack M, Riemer AB. * Equal contributors.
Frontiers in Immunology 2022, 13:918528

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